ZTE shares tank after US Senate puts Trump reprieve in doubt
Shares of ZTE Corp plummeted on June 19 after the U.S. Senate’s passage of a defense bill set up a potential battle with the White House over whether the Chinese telecoms firm can resume business with its U.S. suppliers.
The 85-10 bipartisan vote - one of the few times the Republican-led Senate has veered from White House policy - came on the same day that U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to impose a 10 percent tariff on $200 billion of Chinese goods, escalating tensions between the world’s two biggest economies.
Trump is, however, expected to lobby hard against the amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and before it can become law, the bill must be reconciled with one passed by the House of Representatives that does not include the amendment.
Any compromise measure must then be passed by both chambers and signed into law by Trump - a series of hurdles that has Asia-based analysts punting that ZTE will get eventually get its reprieve.
“The NDAA is not really a reversal of the ZTE deal, but will in all probability prolong the ban-lifting process for ZTE,” said Nikhil Batra, a senior research manager with industry consultancy IDC.
ZTE’s Hong Kong-listed shares tumbled as much as 27 percent to HK$9.56, their lowest level in nearly two years, before ending the day down 25 percent. Its Shenzhen shares fell by their daily limit of 10 percent.
The stock has lost around 38 percent, or more than $7.4 billion in market value, since trading resumed last week after a suspension in mid-April when the sanctions were announced.
ZTE was hit in April with a seven-year ban barring U.S. suppliers selling to it after it broke an agreement to discipline executives who conspired to evade U.S. sanctions on Iran and North Korea.